After all the talk about looking good and feeling glam, I am having doubts. My face seems to be swelling up so I look more like Ed Balls and Matt Lucas than La Collins, and despite eating acres of broccoli I seem to be pasty with lines under my eyes, like a rueful ghost.
Realise that I am upset because my eyebrows have suddenly gone, and with them my eyebrow pencil. I had a soft old, grey stick, but the lead is now finished. None of my other pencils work well, and if you go out with an eyebrow colour too strong, blotchy or wiggly you look absurd.
The first time I have ever sent out for it. I wasn’t sure that he was bringing it, I thought it might just be a friendly chat, but he came on his bike with a large black holdall and started unpacking gold candlesticks, a cross and other shiny objects, looking rather like a burglar.
He set up the altar on my small coffee table, putting down a crisp white cloth, then laying out the objects including a shining silver pyx in the centre. It all looked surprisingly beautiful.
He took the service from the Roman Missal. The reading was from Numbers, 21:4-9 about Moses leading the children of
Have to go to the Renaissance Hotel, High Holborn to interview Amanda Evans, a former tennis professional about the death of her father. He died from Pulmonary Fibrosis. The Daily Telegraph want a piece about it for their health pages.
This is a bit of a task, not because I can’t do the interview or write it – but because I can no longer get my eyebrows right. I haven’t found a good replacement pencil and I think they look a bit ropey.
Arrive early and look for lunch. There are a mass of tedious chain cafes, but find a Vietnamese café. It’s crowded and when I have finished my rice and aubergine realise that I have to go to the back of a very long queue to get some tea. Mention this to a young girl who has come to my table. She doesn’t reply, just stares at me. What must she see? Some ghastly looking, mad old bat?
Scuttle off and see an Italian greasy spoon up a side street. They are usually quite cosy places although their cakes look strangely artificial. They could well be as no one ever seems to eat them.
Not many people in, and as I stand at the counter the Italian serving comes up, but ignores me and speaks to some young girls who have come in behind me. I must look so bad he can’t bear to look at me at all. I am invisible. Decided to have the tea outside at one of their tables on the pavement. Realise I am surrounded by smokers and I am terrified of breathing in carcinogens these days. The tea doesn’t come, decided to give up and walk away. Half expect to be called back to pay for something.
At the Renaissance, I am treated at least as graciously as if I were Joan Collins, or the late Princess Margaret. Sink into the soft cushions on a large sofa as young men fuss around me and bring me a menu and tea. When I had money I stayed in places like this and rarely saw the other stuff. Money might not bring happiness but it brings you less bruising.
Amanda arrives and the interview goes very well, but all the way home I can only think about that Italian and how rude he was, and wonder, why? Why?
I was encouraged to face my fears too by some of the words of John Henry Newman. I also discovered that Newman largely invented the Anglo-Catholic church, he is responsible for beautiful young vicars cycling about with bags full of divine objects.
Bought a book on Anglicanism, which is suddenly more important and real to me. It’s becoming a bit fashionable again too - perhaps because it is, as
It says in this book which seems to be written by a friend of Peter Tatchell, that the church has lost its congregation because it can no longer speak to a national character, we no longer have, a national character. Of all the appalling ideas flying about over the last few weeks, that is perhaps the worst.